WRU STATUS UPDATE – 19/08/20
Wed 19th August
“It has been fantastic to see the beaming faces and excitement from around the country as organised training for our beloved game of rugby returns – albeit in a different way from past seasons.
The WRU Community Director Geraint John has already gone on record expressing his delight that some clubs have worked tirelessly and diligently to get back on the pitch, and rightly so, but the fact we have got to this point illustrates perfectly just how closely the community clubs and the Welsh Rugby Union have worked collaboratively and in harmony together to get to this point.
To get our players back on the pitch isn’t a development which has happened overnight. It has been the result of a tremendous amount of hard work from the clubs and numerous departments within the WRU. It’s been refreshing to see everyone pull together in these unusual and trying times – the fact we had 400 people on a recent webinar discussing the club game suggests we are all doing something right.
Prior to the pandemic bringing the game to a screaming halt, the Community Sub Board had actually been working alongside our clubs to create a strategy fit for purpose for the future of our game.
Obviously Covid-19 has been a major impediment to completing the work, but the engagement of our Community Board and the various departments and staff within the WRU has in my eyes brought the Union and clubs closer together.
The Club of the Future strategy started in earnest last October with numerous workshops which included our clubs (District Workshops), Board Members, Council, District representatives and major partners.
The task at hand was to create the ‘Club of the Future’ with a launch pencilled in for the coming season but obviously Covid-19 has put a spanner in the works there. What is the Club of the Future, how does it work, what does it involve, how can it shape the future of Welsh rugby community, were just some of the questions raised and discussed at length.
The Council, Community Board and the Board have worked together, garnering feedback from the clubs in the process, as they are a vital element in this process.
Some key elements have already been borne out from this procedure which covers the integrated game for men and women so basically the strategy covers every aspect of the game. For example, when it comes to playing and the support of the game on the field in the core game which includes the right competition structure from top to bottom, it is vital we get this area right to support our game for the long term, both on and off the field – players, volunteers and our fantastic supporters.
We need more support which includes training and education around our volunteers – coaches, referees, plus all our off-field volunteers including team managers, first aiders and administrators. This is now vital under current circumstances and vitally important and moving forward it is of imperative importance we develop our digital online presence in regards to this as on-line learning becomes increasingly important in the modern era.
When it comes to facilities, our club houses and facilities are key, we have bricks and mortar – but how do we use these to support our current rugby family? We need to ensure all male and females are catered for as well as our impressive communities in a totally inclusive environment.
As well as rugby being the core product, we now offer so much more with alternative products, we have major offerings for our community – 7s rugby, touch rugby, disability and mixed ability rugby, wheelchair rugby, deaf rugby and visually impaired rugby are just an example of our growing reach.
We, alongside other incredible partners, also provide a large amount of support to our wider communities. Partnerships are important as they help grow our community game – organisations like Sport Wales, Urdd, Street Games and School of Hard Knocks are just some as we continue to provide numerous options for all concerned.
With regards to schools and education, all our children go to school – we must continue our support here and grow rugby in our schools and support our excellent teachers – not only on the field but also in the classroom where the WRU Hub Programme and high value presence within schools, colleges and universities throughout Wales is doing wonders where the brilliant WRU digital classroom curriculum support which reaches a big audience of youngsters and parents – they could be our club players and volunteers of the future.
We’re now aiming to launch the club of the future strategy in 2021 with more input from our Community clubs. To support this ambitious project, we must make sure that the model supports the game and also the growth of our clubs.
All of the above, in my view, shows we have a plan to support the game, the players, the people and our community clubs.”
Yours in Rugby